Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bacon vs Jerky [Infographic]

Nothing to do with wine, but man cannot live on donuts alone. Thus, the ultimate battle looms: bacon versus jerky. Enjoy:

Bacon vs Jerky [Infographic]

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wine of the Week: Pi'nouf 2009 Languedoc Red

Pi'nouf 2009 Languedoc Red

Heading home from ski patrol Saturday, my wife asked me to stop off and pick up something to drink with dinner. This was the first wine I saw and, being a fan of G-S-M blends, was intrigued by this similar option. I'm also a big fan of twist-off closures, another reason I picked this up. Syrah 65%, Grenache 25%, 10% old vine Carignan, this is like tasting the south of France in a glass: cassis, earth, and dark fruit aromas are followed by raspberry, earth, vanilla, and wood flavors on the palate. Relatively voluptuous mouthfeel ends in a tannic finish. At $10, this is a well-priced wine to enjoy with heavier and/or more spiced meals - we had it with sausage pizza and veggies, a great combination.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection 2013

I'm a big fan of Concha y Toro. Not content to sit on past successes, they keep coming up with new ways to keep themselves (and us) occupied. The most recent innovation is a new line for Casillero del Diablo, the Devil's Collection. This is aimed at younger, hipper crowd, with higher quality grapes and winemaking at a reasonable price point. I received 2 of the 3 wines to taste, with just the sparkler to try in the future.

Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection 2013

Tasting Notes:
Devil's Collection Red: 60% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Carménère from Chile's Rapel Valley; 60% aged in French and American oak, 40% in stainless steel; consistency between nose and palate with plenty of dark fruit, earth, spice, and cocoa; integrated tannins give backbone and some peppery bite; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $15.
Devil's Collection White: 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, and 5% Gewürztraminer from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, hand and mechanically harvested; aged sur lie 8+ months in stainless steel; tropical, floral, stone fruit, and citrus aromas, with more of the same on the palate; 13.5% ABV; twist off closure; SRP $15.
Another quality line from Concha y Toro via the Casillero del Diablo label - great food wines that step up the complexity just a little bit but don't step up the prices too much.

Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Home Run Inn Pizzeria, Darien

When I think of Home Run Pizza, I think of frozen pies, not great but decent (pretty tough to find a great frozen pizza), so I've never really thought about going to one of their pizzerias (there are nine Home Run Inn pizza restaurants in the Chicagoland area). We were invited to meet up with family there, however, so off we went.

Home Run Inn Pizzeria, Darien

The interior is inviting and not at the same time, with an open area of the restaurant and a wall blocking off the bar area to the right, which is a bit disconcerting as you enter. Overall a decent looking and comfortable room. Though it looked like there was plenty of staff, for some odd reason all the diners that night were seated together rather than spread out from each other. No biggie, just a bit strange.

While pizza is the obvious choice, Home Run inn does have some decidedly non-pizzeria items like Southside Sliders (pulled Guinness braised beef, Dubliner cheese, Jameson slaw, and fresh scallions) and Guinness Nachos (crisp cottage fried potatoes smothered with pulled Guinness braised beef, Dubliner cheese, Jameson horseradish sauce, and fresh scallions). For appetizers we tried the Sliders and an order of Cheesy Garlic Bread. Verdict? Not terrible, but the Sliders just didn't have an identity, too many flavors, not enough texture. The Cheesy Garlic Bread, however, was awesome. The pizzas were really good as well, with no skimping on toppings. Definitely not typical frozen pizza flavors.

A minimal wine and beer list was somewhat disappointing, though the beer flight was a good option, with 4 beers I haven't had before, some local and others imported.

Desert was incredibly tasty, but also somewhat disjointed. They didn't have the Ghirardelli Chocolate Bomb Cupcake (a table wish), but came through with a decent bag of donuts and the Signature Cookie Monster (warm chocolate cookie crust topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce).

This is a restaurant that was better than expected and, if you stick with the more typical pizzeria options, has food that is tasty and done well.

Home Run Inn Pizza on Urbanspoon

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rosé for Valentine's Day

To me, sparkling wine means celebration, and rosé means romance. The Freixenet Group portfolio includes rosés from Segura Viudas, Mia and Garbó. Owned and operated by the Ferrer family of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, near Barcelona, Spain, the Group is one of the ten largest wine companies in the world, comprised of fine still and sparkling wine estates in the world’s top growing regions including Spain, France, Italy, California, Argentina, Australia and Mexico. Imported by Freixenet USA of Sonoma, California, wines produced by the Freixenet Group are sold in all fifty states.

Rosé for Valentine's Day

A striking sparkler like Mia Sparkling Moscato Rosé ($12) sets the scene with its light strawberry pink hue and fruity aroma. A beautiful rose-colored glass of Segura Viudas Brut Rosé ($10), with its natural sweetness, serves as an aperitif or with light foods. Mia Rosé 2013 ($10) is a no-brainer - beautiful looking, easy-drinking and modern, this is a great all-around rose for friends or that special someone. Need a slightly more  elegant and refined wine? Garbó Rosé 2013 ($19) will make any moment more romantic.

All these wines are outstanding on their own, go well with a variety of foods, and make a striking impression in the glass. Any of these rosés wine will certainly make this a romantic Valentine's Day!

Wine provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Amado Sur Malbec Blend 2013

Not in the mood for bubbles for Valentine's Day? Maybe looking for a hearty red to go with a special dinner. Check out Bodega Trivento's Amado Sur Malbec blend. Amado Sur, (a riff on the Spanish for “Southern Love,”) is a contemporary collection of wines from the Trivento estate in Mendoza, Argentina. The name alludes to the special affinity between wine grapes and the unique growing conditions found in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.

Amado Sur Malbec Blend 2013

Tasting Notes:
Hand-picked 70% Malbec, 20% Bonarda, 10% Syrah; aged 8 months in oak, 6 months (blended) in stainless steel, then 5 months in bottle; garnet and violet color; plum, cherry, raspberry and spice aromas; dark berry, anise, mocha, earth, and vanilla flavors; 14% ABV; SRP $15. Enjoy this wine now or cellar for a few years to allow tannins to integrate a bit more.
Wine provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gourmet Gift Baskets

Only a few days until Valentine's Day, what to do? GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the fastest-growing, online gifting companies in the U.S. has a fresh batch of 2015 Valentine’s Day gifts for women and men, ranging from $24.99 all the way up to $400. They sent us a few samples so we could test them out and let you know if this is a gift we'd like to receive. Simple answer: Oh yeah.

Beer Valentine’s Day Gift

The Beer Valentine’s Day Gift ($89.99) might be the answer to the challenge of finding the right gift for a guy on Valentine’s Day. Inside a galvanized steel bucket (reusable!), there are 6 delicious brews (micro and macro), chosen from countries all over the world. Beer drinking needs snacks, so the bucket includes a selection of foods like peanut butter pretzel nuggets, buffalo popcorn, smoked pepperoni, crispy cracker crunch, chipotle cheddar cheese and more. Tasty all around - I'd be happy to receive a sampler like this any time.

Chocolate Popcorn Sampler

Debuting in time for Valentine’s Day, this Chocolate Popcorn Sampler ($30) marries traditional tastes with more exotic, daring infusions. Dark Chocolate Chile is a brand new flavor that brings the heat to a burst of chocolate. Banana-infused white chocolate drizzled over popcorn makes the Funky Monkey flavor, and the Salted Chocolate Caramel is so good, many mouths water just thinking about it. Other flavors include: Coffee Berry, Island Coconut, Banana Cream Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookies and Cream, and Peanut Butter Cup. Sweet with strong and assertive flavors, this sampler was a blast to taste through.

While these were suggested for Valentine's Day, I know most people would love to get something like this for any reason at all; check them out for any special occasion or even a surprise. So many great options to choose from!

Samples provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship

Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship

Applications for the 2015 Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship are now open! Because I will be hiking and whitewater rafting the week of the WBC, I won't make it to the Conference again this year. Disappointing, because the Finger Lakes region makes some great wines and looks amazingly beautiful from photos I've seen. That being said, there are people who want to go but cannot afford it - you can help by donating to the Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship Fund today!

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sutter Home Red Blend

The 2015 award season (Golden Globes, Screen Actor Guild Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and Oscars) are in full swing. What better way to celebrate the red carpet than with a red wine; specifically, a red blend?

Sutter Home Red Blend

These are the days of red blends - made from grapes sourced from all over, with several varietals blended in for body or aroma or structure, this is a growing segment of wine sales. Recently we got a sample of the Sutter Home Red Blend to taste, with elaborate award-style packaging that seemingly surpassed the price of the bottle (SR $6.99).

50% Zinfandel, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from California; aged in a combination of French and American oak; ruby violet color; red berry, cocoa, and sandalwood aromas; red berry, cocoa, spice and earthen flavors; nice balance with some acidity and tannins; round mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish. Perfect for an everyday drinker, even when it's not award season.

Wine provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel